Why is the fatality rate of this new coronavirus so high? Many experts are stumped, but a new study may shed some light on this virus.
According to the World Health Organization, as of March 26, 2013 there have been 17 confirmed cases, including 11 deaths due to the novel coronavirus (nCoV). The latest patients to die were from Germany and the United Kingdom.
Researchers have published results that may indicate why the mortality rate is so high for this virus.
Novel Coronavirus: New Findings
The novel coronavirus is ‘bigger and better’ than all of the other viruses in the coronavirus family, and that includes SARS. So how is it bigger and better? Researchers have discovered that the virus infects the tissue of the respiratory system, kidneys, intestinal tract, liver cells, and histiocytes.
Histiocytes play an important role in your immune system; they essentially ‘eat’ foreign substances, like viruses, which are trying to infect your body. So when the coronavirus attacks the histiocytes, in means your immune system will have a hard time fighting off the virus, and as a result, this virus is very powerful. Researchers have also found that the novel coronavirus can infect primates, pigs, and bat cells, as well as the kidney cells of rabbits.
Coronavirus vs. Similar Viruses
The SARS epidemic in 2003 caused 916 deaths in 30 different countries. The fatality rate for SARS was 11 percent, and it only infected very few human organs, whereas the novel coronavirus infects multiple human organs and has a fatality rate around 56 percent.Decoded Science